I have several presentations coming up related to my learning environment design framework, and I think it’s time to spiff it up a bit. When you work with a framework for a long time, your experiences, the questions your colleagues ask, and new arenas of application give you plenty of food for thought about what the model accounts for and what it doesn’t. I’ve been changing the language I use to describe the process of designing a learning environment, and it’s time to update the component list as well.
To those of you who feel like you just stepped into the middle of a conversation, a learning environment (to my mind) is a collection of resources and activities for learning. The resources may be inanimate or human; the activities may be formal or informal. A well designed learning environment is curated with a specific need in mind. It may be curated by an individual (as in a personal learning environment), by a group (such as a community of practice), or by a designer who is supporting a specific complex need that can’t be met by training or other formal programs alone.
I’ve been promoting learning environment design as a way of thinking about what we used to call blended learning, and as a way of capitalizing on informal learning resources by curating the best materials (in your judgment) and making them easily accessible by your learners.
You can get a lot of information about my evolving thinking on the subject by clicking over to the Learning Environment Design tab on my blog site.
Through this post, I thought I would share some of the revisions I am in the process of making. I would love your feedback and input!
These revisions are related to the list of learning components – I have been trying to capture – in a quick one page view – all of the varied resources and processes that people use to learn (or at least the highlights). In strategy consulting (and my own personal learning environment design), I use this list to guide my assessment of the scope of the environment that currently exists as well as to shape the range of learning resources I might recommend. It’s been a pretty handy document in my work, and others have let me know it works for them as well.
That doesn’t mean it couldn’t use a little retooling. Here are the items I am trying to address:
> There are several important concepts in learning and development that aren’t explicitly called out in the list of components. The possibility of having performance support as a learning resource and the increasing use of social media to support learning are both buried in other language on the list.
> The categories need to be more straightforward and relatable. I mean, why not just call “relationships and networks” people?
> The component lists are a little long, and use different words to refer to the same general idea. That’s partially because we do use different words to refer to the same general idea, but I think that can be cleaned up a bit.
So here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
What do you think? If you have suggestions or questions, let me know.
And if you are the Training 2013 conference in Florida next month, stop in to see what I say about it! Monday, February 18, 2 pm – Session #312 – Learning Environments by Design: Your role as curator.